From plant-based and hyper-local to gut-friendly and booze-free, culinary wellness is here to stay, and it’s having a huge impact on attendee expectations at events. In the coming year, planners should prepare for healthy, innovative
food and drink to be exceedingly popular at
gatherings, according to Christine Couvelier,
global culinary trendologist, chef, educator
“Going into 2019, consumers know more
about food than ever before,” Couvelier said.
“They are more aware about ingredients and
overall health and wellness, and it’s something
planners always have to consider when work-
What’s taking “center table” this year?
Plant-based dishes, superfoods, locally
sourced artisan products and ever-inspired
virgin cocktails, some even using non-alco-
holic spirits, according to Couvelier.
You don’t have to be vegan, vegetarian or
lactose-intolerant to have partaken in the plant-based food movement and realized its benefits—whether you’ve opted for pea milk instead
of traditional cow milk or decided to try the
Impossible Burger at a small corporate dinner.
“One of the continuing trends we saw last
year that is going to be enormous this year is all
about a plant-based future, and not just inno-
vative plant-based meats, which are monsters,
with Beyond Meat burgers, the Impossible
Burger and chefs who are experimenting with
putting their own plant-based meats on the
menu,” Couvelier said. “We’re also seeing it
in cheese, milk and butter, using almond or
The biggest plant-based trend will continue to
be ice cream, she added.
“You could do a blind taste test and people
would absolutely adore it,” she said.
Couvelier said planners should challenge
chefs and F&B directors to come up with ideas
for a homemade, plant-based ice cream or
cheese as delicious, forward-thinking treats for
The farm-to-table movement has long been
trendy, but Couvelier said it will broaden at
events to include local artisan products that give
attendees an authentic “taste” of the destination.
“It’s all about finding the artisan specialists in
the area to create a memorable food experience
of being there, so it’s artisan bakers, chocolate
masters, honey farmers and craft brewers, for
example, and highlighting their products on the
menu,” she said. “It’s very exciting for the chef or
F&B director to have the opportunity to be innovative, so planners should know their attendees,
research a bit about their destination and come
armed with ideas to help brainstorm.”
Four healthy food and beverage strategies to infuse into 2019 agendas
BY LORI TENNY